A war of words erupted in a meeting of a Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs after BJP members objected to committee Chairman P. Chidambaram’s presence, as he is also a counsel in a case related to Aadhaar in the Supreme Court. The panel met on Wednesday and the subject “National Security and Privacy Concerns relating to Aadhaar” was listed as one of the eight subjects it would be studying in the coming year. The panel has been examining this subject since October 24. According to sources, five Bharatiya Janata Party members in the panel objected to Chidambaram’s presence in the meetings on this subject citing a conflict of interest.
The BJP members said Chidambaram should either excuse himself from meetings on this subject or the matter should be passed on to the Standing Committee on Information Technology. The opposition members were of the view that the panel should continue to examine the subject as Aadhaar involves privacy and issues of national security. They also pointed out that four meetings of the committee on the subject have already been held under Chidambaram’s chairmanship. No consensus on the issue was reached. Trinamool Congress Member in the Rajya Sabha Derek O’Brien, who is a member of the panel, tweeted on Wednesday: “Parliament Committee on Home Affairs. Am a member. Sparks often fly. Fireworks soon.” “Can’t divulge details of Parliament panel meet. But can say that Trinamool will fight to prevent Aadhaar being forced on the marginalised,” he said.